Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Fuad Hussein hands over ” the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet to the Minister of Culture, Dr Hasan Nadhim

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Fuad Hussein has handed over three artefacts to the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Archaeological Affairs, Dr Hasan Nadhim, as follows:

  • ” The Gilgamesh Dream Tablet ” which is a clay tablet whose age is over 3,500 years old, inscribed with Sumerian Cuneiform.
  • A Sumerian Ram from the Uruk period which was seized by the US Department of Homeland Security.
  • A Sumerian relief from southern Iraq obtained by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from America and Britain through the coordination with the Iraqi embassies in Washington and London. These artefacts were illegally taken out of Iraq.

The two Ministers have signed the hand over minutes in a ceremony at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which was attended by the Ministry’s undersecretaries, Heads of Departments, Head of the State Board of Antiquities & Heritage and the press media.

In his speech, Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein appreciated the efforts exerted by the two Ministries , in cooperation with the US government, extending his thanks to the Ministry Department of Legal Affairs and Iraq’s embassies, the ambassadors, and the diplomatic staffs in Washington, the Hague, Tokyo, London, Rome as well as the Smithsonian Institution which exerted a big effort in this respect, together with the efforts of the UNESCO.

The Minister says: ” We extend our thanks to the efforts exerted to restore our stolen antiquities. We have named this year (the Year of the Restitution Diplomacy) for the external and internal concerted efforts, adding that the Foreign Ministry has followed an important approach, that is the restoration of all stolen Iraqi antiquities, something that reflects the national interest on all levels. The antiquities restitution has been one of the most essential files we had been working on, where we worked in coordination with the national concerned authorities on the repatriation of the smuggled antiquities. We have completed the restitution of about (17916) artefacts from a number of countries, most important of which: America, Britain, Italy and Japan. We would not have been able to achieve this without the concerted efforts of the Iraqi Ministry of Culture, Tourism and and Antiquities led by Dr Hasan Nadhim and the embassies of the Republic of Iraq, the ambassadors and the diplomatic staffs in Washington, the Hague, London, Rome and the other institutions of the Iraqi state as well as the UNESCO, as a result of which has been the restitution of these historical relics. I can not but thank those blessed efforts that have worked to realise that, indicating that ” This event represents a victory over the desperate attempts trying to rob our great history and our ancient civilization. It is an out reaching message to those who seek to devastate Iraq (Mesopotamian Iraq) which we strive to defend .
On his part, the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Antiquities, Dr Hasan Nadhim ” extended his thanks to the Foreign Minister, the distinguished Ministry staff and all the brothers and sisters who have worked in the area of the restitution of antiquities, and the staff of the Embassy of the Republic of Iraq in Washington on top of whom, Dr Fareed Yasseen, through their close follow-up with the American institutions, the Department of State, the Department of Justice and the importance of the legislated Act, there which prohibits and holds accountable the act of antiquities smuggling, he also extended his thanks to the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage at the Ministry of Culture for its continuous follow-up of this file, which is finding its stolen and smuggled antiquities, adding ” We are verily in the ” year of the restitution diplomacy” as named by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He added ” that Iraq had been able to reclaim the Gilgamesh Tablet which relates the Dream of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest epics in the world and the oldest epic of human history. It dates back to 3500 BC, confirming that “we are going to continue the efforts to reclaim all the stolen antiquities through the legal means.